Monday, 31 December 2012

Day 12

Day 12 of my time off over Christmas.

I am quite frankly shattered.

This cold has come on with a vengeance and I am full of sniffles and snuffles.

I was asked yesterday if I had thrown a lot away?

The answer is yes.

It is quite a cathartic experience. 10 bags to the tip so far and another 6 to the charity shop.

My whole VHS collection went yesterday and that was a hard decision to make.

But at the new house there is not enough room, besides which as everything is DVD nowadays it had to go.

The flat continues to be a right royal mess. But I have slowly been taking clothes over to The Chap's.

He is tired too, after days fitting our new kitchen. We both need a week in the sun to recover from Christmas I think.

It will be while before we can use it, so food has to microwaved or oven cooked.

Tonight is New Years Eve. I cannot believe how much has changed in the last 12 months.

It is a time for reflection.

I have paid off my credit cards and am moving in with the best and nicest and kindest chap I have ever known.

I wonder what the next 12 months will bring?

We plan to stay in this evening. No dinners out or expensive tickets to clubs plus the price of taxis.

We will sit on the sofa with the cats at our feet and eat a take away.

Pure bliss.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Day 10

This packing business is never going to end....

I am at the end of my tether.

Thank God for my mum helping me out.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 28 December 2012

Day 9

The "Great Pack" continues and it is driving me potty!

Where did all of this stuff come from?

And how did I manage to spend £67 at the supermarket?

New duvet ( we have to get a kingsize before one of us freezes)
Bits of food (pie, peas, potatoes, smoothy, pepsi, milk)
New flat sheet
My last alessi serving set
Rum
Sellotape
Dustbin liners
Loo cleaner

In what world does that come to £67???

Never again....

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas, Day 8

So "The Great Pack" started in ernest today. No money spent.

But I do need to go out and buy more cellotape. And boxes, I am in desperate need of more boxes.

Most of the pictures are down and bubble wrapped. Was delighted to discover a patch of mould behind one. I really do not want to chuck it but I do think it has gotten into the picture.

I also emptied the display cabinet and started sorting my clothes to take them to a charity shop.

God, this is tedious...

The place seems to be getting messier not tidier.

Beginning to panic.... Big time.

Arrrgggggghh!

Stressedly yours
Abigail
X







Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas, Day 7

Just back from down South.

Horrible time to travel with this weather.

But, I made it safely.

Had a lovely Christmas.

Right, the "Great Pack" starts tomorrow after I see The Chap later.

See ya tomorrow.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas, Day 6

Merry Christmas!
Hope you have all had a Wonderful day.

I have opened an army of presents all have been lovely.

I have eaten an enormous lunch and played with a stomp rocket and put together a Lego batman and playmobile police station.

Pure bliss!

Abigail
X

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas, Day 5

Afternoon!

Today, should have been a No Spend Day.

Should have been..... Famous last words.

I was up at 5.20am today to try and miss the traffic. I was out of the flat by 6.20 and on the road.

My reasoning was that today the traffic could be quite bad, as people left to visit family over the Christmas period.

I am not sure my idea was such a great success. Driving in the dark when the rain was lashing down is not fun.

A huge stretch of the M40 is unlit and at that time with the rain it was very unpleasant.

In this blogger's opinion a lot of the traffic was going much too fast considering the amount of surface water and visibility.

I was doing probably 60mph in the inside lane and being easily overtaken by other in fast executive cars doing 80 -90mph.

Just dangerous.

So, at 7.40am I stopped for a cup of tea and a croissant at Cherwell Valley service station. Nearly £5. But, by the time I was back on the road, the sun was up and I felt a lot happier driving in those conditions.

I arrived at 9.25 and and have spent the day playing with my nephew M. We have been to the park and played farms and decorated a chocolate reindeer with icing and sprinkles.

My sister goes to a lot of trouble over Christmas decorations and I thought you might be interested to see them.

Santa arrives tonight folks! Have a great evening!

Frugally yours
Abigail
X









Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas, Day 4

Hello!

Just a quickee.

Am ironing and packing like mad this evening as off down south for Christmas tomorrow.

I am planning on getting up at 5, quickly fill the car and off so I can arrive in time for breakfast and hopefully miss the traffic.

The Chap and I said our good byes this afternoon after I helped him with some chores. He is off to Scotland for Christmas to see his family. So we both plan to meet up Boxing Day.

My wonderful boyfriend washed my car, topped up the windscreen wash and checked the tyre pressure prior to me leaving today. I think that is the kindest thing a man has ever done for me.

We exchanged gifts last night and I like to think he was really pleased with the shirts I picked plus some T-shirts and a jumper. Mixture of high street stores and a couple from high end shops.

I had been saving for ages to get him them and got money off them all as everywhere had deals on when I went shopping.

The little stocking of goodies I did too went down well. Shaving gel, hair gel, tooth paste etc. All stuff that always gets used.

He was so very generous. And I had a new digital camera, as I have been complaining about how bad my shots are on my blog.

Considering he bought me the laptop so I could start blogging. Really I am delighted! My new camera is also wifi so I can email photos as soon as they are taken. It is so posh and I will tell you more once I get a proper chance to have a play.

He also got me a new alarm clock which my iPhone can dock in and so charge whilst I sleep. It also plays songs of my choosing from my iTunes library to wake up to. I am so tech-ed out nowadays.

We had dinner with his parents yesterday evening and it was so lovely. They gave me a stocking and some Chanel 5. My absolute favourite perfume. Recently well beyond my budget. My last bottle has been rationed since September. So I was thrilled.

What a lucky girl I am!

Until tomorrow kids.

Frugally yours
Abigail x

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Day 3

Evening!

Another day closer to Christmas, and the food keeps coming!

Ages ago I arranged to see an old friend for lunch. We had a great time. Mushroom biryana to start then salmon fish cakes. All for £5.90 pp. Excellent value, price of a sandwich in most pubs.

So when The Chap announced we were invited to his parents tonight, I was delighted. Somewhat less so when I realised we were having a take away.

Going to see his parents is always lovely. But, by the end of Christmas I am going to the size of a small apartment block.

Oh, well.... :o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Day 2

Evening Everyone.

Well, another day done and some last minute shopping on behalf of The Chap.

As he is out this evening on his work do I finally got round to the wrapping.

I have nearly finished (see photo). All the paper was bought in January like my cards. I always get a roll for about 20p and buy 3 or 4 rolls to last me 12 months.

Grab a plain colour or non seasonal paper so you can use it throughout the year.

The tags are from last years Christmas cards. I cut them up and then pop them into a drawer ready for the following Christmas. No one really cares what a tag looks like especially youngsters. It is just to identify who gets to open an exciting looking parcel and who to thank for it after.

I bet everyone else is far more organised than I with my last minute wrapping. But I have planned to do this, this evening for a while now.

I feel very festive wrapping gifts with a DVD of the Albert Finney "Scrooge" on the television. I bought it years ago on offer from the supermarket. And every year it gets watched while I wrap.

My very own Christmas tradition.

Happy holidays!

Frugally yours
Abigail
X



Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Day1

Hiya friends
I broke up from work yesterday. And it is bloody brilliant!

14 days off work as I used some holiday time.

Well, the big news is, the reason I booked it all off is I am moving.

The van comes on the third of January. Then I have a week to do a deep clean.
So the next 2 weeks will be spent packing.

It seems like a huge task.

I will be taking Monday to Wednesday off to celebrate Christmas.
So with all that in mind I did do some other chores today so I can concentrate on packing over the weekend. I went to see my agent about potential tenants and got my hair cut. The hair cut was not thrifty. £25 plus tip. But it is only the second paid for cut this year. So I can live with that.

I do feel somewhat daunted at the prospect of packing and storing 10 years of my life. But, am looking forward to being with The Chap and starting a new chapter.

It seems like this new year it will be all change for me.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Little Wins

Firstly, Hello and Welcome to my new follower Jackie! Thanks so much for visiting - x.
******

I wish I could save £100s of pounds every day. I wish my thriftyness would land me with money in the bank and huge amounts of savings.

It does not.

Life is a bit of a struggle and staying “on message” can sometimes seem a long hard slog.

So I do try and get pleasure out of every “little win”.

A little win, is when you have ensured you got the best possible deal with your purchase, or saved a few pence here or there.

Those wins cheer me up when times are hard and you want everything, everyone else seems to have. E.g. an ipad, a better car, money to really splurge at Christmas etc etc.
(I am sorry Dear Visitor, I am not able to pretend that I love being thrifty. I just have to be!)

A few recent “Little Wins”
·        I paid for The Chap’s entire stocking using only loyalty points
·        I paid no delivery on item ordered online
·        I only pay £5 per month on buying lunches and that is the 4cans of cola for a £1 I buy from Poundstretcher to drink with my home made food.
·        I will have reduced my energy bill this quarter by re-programming my central heating. Now it only comes on in the evening and not in the morning.
·        I ensured any presents I did buy were bought either in the cheapest place or the establishment that offered the best loyalty points.
·        I got The Chap to change to own brand cat food pouches. Belle and Twinkle still shove their heads into the bowl with all the anticipation of a Metal Head at a Slash concert. They still play, sleep and scratch the sofa. And so far neither has turned green. They are normally just under £1 per 12 pouches cheaper than Whiskers.
·        I always go for basic or everyday value alternatives to branded goods. The only notable exceptions to this rule is mince, rice krispies and Fairy washing up liquid. The basic minces I think are full of fat, basic rice krispies have the consistency of bullets and Cheap washing up liquid just does not froth up as much as Fairy so you use more of it.

When you are being thrifty and trying to live a financially stable life, then just take heart from these little wins.

Look after the pennies and then pounds look after themselves!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Friday, 14 December 2012

Dang It

I just wrote a fascinating post on "little wins" that would have changed your life....;o)

The blasted computer just deleted it all when I went to attach a picture.

So I give up and here are some pictures of Belle instead, who is currently fast asleep on my lap under my scarf.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X



Thursday, 13 December 2012

Brrrrrrr

Feeling a bit fed up this evening which is a shame with Christmas approaching.

This unrelenting cold weather just drives me potty. I would rather be hungry than cold. Whether at work, home or in the car I can never seem to get warm. Only a hot bath helps.

At 11pm at night, the heating should have gone off an hour ago with me tucked up under a 12 tog duvet.

But I did not get home until late and after a quick bowl of tesco everyday value cornflakes, I am writing this sitting on my lounge floor hugging the radiator to get warm and dry my hair.

I am having a sneaky extra hour as tomorrow evening the heating will only be on very low to prevent freezing pipes. I stay with The Chap from Friday til Sunday.

Hopefully tomorrow it will be better as I understand temperatures are supposed to rise over the next few days.

This extreme feeling of cold bothers me greatly if I am honest.

Since a child I always have been the cold one. My hands and feet are always very cool to the touch.

My enduring memory of snowy days or swimming with friends was having a great time until my elder sister would shout

"Mummy! Quick! Abigail's lips are turning blue!"

Unfortunately as I suffered from a heart murmur, this phrase would send my parents into a major panic as if apocalypse was approaching! And I would be whisked in to drink hot tea and sit in front of the fire.

A lovely memory of family love, I agree but it seems that after 36 years not much has changed except now luckily my lips stay pink.

Ahhh well winter cannot last forever I suppose.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Where There's A Will..

Firstly, hello and welcome to my new follower Fostermummy. I've heard of you! Famous in the frugal blogging world. Thank you for visiting. x

A while ago, I mentioned that I had started collecting vouchers so I could purchase the Alessi cutlery currently on offer at Tescos.

Well, here is the finished article.
The full set of cutlery.
  • 12 boxes of starter sets of cutlery. 1 small knife, 1 small fork and 1 soup spoon.
  • 12 boxes of main course sets of cutlery. 1 large knife, 1large fork, 1 large spoon, and 1 teaspoon
  • 3 boxes of pastry forks, 4 forks / box
  • 2 serving sets. ( I may buy 2 more sets, tbc)
I completed the purchases yesterday after work as I got given another voucher £5 off a £40 spend on cookware and they let me use it at the same time.

The offer finishes on Christmas Eve but vouchers will still be accepted up to early January.

A voucher was given with every £20 spent in store or on petrol, and 5 vouchers were required to be able to buy 1 box for £4.99 (£7.49 for the servers).

Now that is an expensive way to buy cutlery! There was no way I was going to spend that much money, nor could I afford to. So from the first week of the offer I have been
  • sweet talking cashiers
  • Facebooking friends
  • Putting wanted adverts on local websites
  • Using freecycle
  • Swopping homemade cakes for vouchers.
  • And some of you readers kindly sent me some too.
Facebook worked really well and friends were sharing my post and then sending 20 or 30 vouchers at a time as they collected them for me from their friends.

I needed 145 vouchers to complete my set.

I have spent £149.70. Getting the vouchers alone should have cost me £2900 on in storre purchases, before I spent the £149.70 on buying them.

In actual fact I have spent no more or less than I usually spend in Tesco on food and petrol. Everyone else just helped me.

To buy a box of Alessi Nuovo Milano (24 items) on Amazon costs £200.00. I have over four times as many. That is a huge saving. And, I would never have been able to afford this cutlery before.

I have had to promise friends and family I will never change my cutlery again!

I do now have c. 190 vouchers left,

enough for over a full set the same as mine. If anyone wants them to use before 6th January 2013. Or even just half of them - please leave a comment with your email address and I will be very happy to send you some.

Thank you to everyone, including readers who sent me vouchers with no thought of asking for anything in return. I really appreciate it.

Mission Accomplished, I would say!

Just need to buy a table big enough to fit 12, and then a house big enough to fit the table.......:o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Friday, 7 December 2012

Free Stuff!

I decided I wanted to make a little stocking for The Chap at Xmas with a few of his favourite things.

But, I did not want to spend any money....hmmmm tricky!

Luckily, I have been ensuring that every time I buy a product in Boots I got the points added to my account. Also judicious use of my double points vouchers to make the best use of deals too.

Turns out 12 months of spending has amassed £15 to spend in store.

So, today a quick pop into town at lunchtime and I was able to get all this loot!

Now, it may be all a bit boring, but I know it will be appreciated and useful. I am going to add a box of microwave sweet popcorn and this will be a perfect stocking for my handsome fella to open on top of his main items.

Good thing he rarely reads my blog huh?

Frugally yours
Abigail x



Thursday, 6 December 2012

What Would You Have Done?

Afternoon!

I have been debating whether to tell you this or not for a few days.

On Saturday, I was at my local Iceland buying their Sweet Chilli Chicken Pizzas (£1.50 each and just delicious!).

Being naturally talkative, I started chatting with the woman in front of me in the queue. Elderly, with a lovely smile.

After exchanging a couple of mundane sentances. She said to me
"Would you mind wishing me, Happy Birthday? As I am 80 today and no-one has said Happy Birthday to me"

God....

Doesn't it just break your heart?

I of course wished her Happy Birthday as did the Cashier and everyone else at the Checkout. It turns out her husband died earlier this year and there was no-one around. I suspect she was lonely.

I waited a couple of minutes and asked her if she would like to come for a cup of tea with me to a local cafe. I was going to get her a piece of cake and generally make a fuss of her.

I think she got embarrassed, and said "No, I am ok thank you" and scurried off.

I feel so sad when I think of this lady.

Loneliness must be debilitating.

Sigh.... Christmas must be unbearable for so many people.

Rather forlornly

Abigail
x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Human Pin Cushion

Afternoon Peeps!
Having a fine day?

I had my flu jab today, and I am peeved off about it.

Why?

I have the flu innoculation every year, have done for about 5 years since a nasty bout of flu over Christmas left me on the 30th December in an ambulance with horrible chest pains. I had come down with pleurisy and pneumonia.

It is the worst I have ever felt, and the thought of another bout can leave curled up in a foetal position wimpering like an arachnophobic at a spiderman convention.

Normally, my local doctors surgery will let me queue up with the elderly, young and frail to receive a free jab.

For some reason this year, they did not call me in and by the time I had remembered the open sessions had been completed and I had no chance of getting it free.

So, after a couple of days of feeling a little under the weather and my local pharmacy refusing me the vaccination, I put on my best smile and asked another chemist close to work who were happy to oblige.

£9.99 to get it this year. That is a lot compared to the £0.00 I paid last year and the year before and the year before that…. Well you get the idea.

I am pleased to have the peace of mind of knowing I cannot get ill with flu for another 12 months. However, I am peeved I had to spend nearly a tenner.

So next year in October, please can you remind me to call my Doctors?

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tuesday.

It has been a strange few days since I last blogged on Thursday. Hello and welcome to my new follower Jenny Freeman. Thanks so much for visiting x.

First of all…
KATE AND WILLS ARE BAKING A ROYAL BUN! Congratulations!!
So very excited when this news broke in the UK yesterday afternoon. Cannot wait for the 3rd in line to arrive next year. Much discussion at work about boys / girls and twins as apparently extreme morning sickness is often associated with multiple births.

More good news is Christmas, is bought, paid for and sitting in my spare room waiting to be wrapped. Nothing was bought full price and I was especially pleased with some Clarins sets I picked up which I got 10% off. A saving of £6 across the two. But, the bonus was the free gift, which I then snaffled, and was just as good as the sets I had just paid for.

I am just waiting on something arriving from Ebay for The Chap, which should be here by the end of the week.

As I bought the wrapping paper in January when it was reduced (buy plain gold / red / silver rolls and they last all year -  10p for 3meters). I am ready for the weekend when I will start wrapping.

Christmas cards were also picked up in January at 50p for 10 from Tesco. £1.50 for 30 and that will be it for 2012 festivities.

So that is the good news.

We have had a some bad news this week, a relative has taken a very nasty tumble and is in hospital, battered, bruised and unconscious in Intensive Care. Everyone is flying around visiting and helping out, but it is very upsetting and the relative is a very kind elderly person. No-one should be in hospital this time of year.

This morning, I was late to work, by nearly 90mins as they closed the road. A pedestrian had been hit by a man in his car with his 3 kids in the rear. I had to turn back and completely retrace my journey to get into one of the offices. As I started to swear about commuting, the air ambulance flew overhead, and that shut me up. It really is serious when that arrives.

How quickly anticipation for the Christmas season can seem so shallow, and lives can be changed irrevocably. Not just the pedestrian and my relative, but also the man driving the car and those close to ones taken ill.

Around this time of year there is so much bad news and so many joyless existences. It has really come home to me over the past 4 days.

My Mum is very good at raising funds, and this year she decided that she would raise money for our local FoodBank. Surely a roof over your head and a fully tummy are basic human rights? Well she thinks so and I agree. It is criminal in today’s society, here in the UK people are hungry.

She attended the local Christmas Light switch on with a Bottle Tombola and made £140.

Our local Tesco on Saturday was asking for food donations to the FoodBank and was giving every customer a list of items it needed (all non perishable). I was not able to get much, but I did pick up a tinned pie, tin of peas and some tuna. Tesco then gave another 30% on top of my donation.

I think this is a great idea, but apparently it was only on for one day. I wish there was someway to ask Tesco to have a bin, in which shoppers could donate every week. Just a tin / week from 20% of shoppers would make a huge amount of difference.

So this week, give your loved ones a little extra squeeze from me and if you would like to help out those who are hungry in the UK. Please see here.

Frugally yours
Abigail
x


Thursday, 29 November 2012

The 4 Ps of Christmas Shopping.

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! 

I have the day off tomorrow and have quite a lot to do.

8.30AM the new agent is turning up to look over my flat and take photographs ready to market it.

Then I am off to complete the Christmas Shopping.

As stated before, I do have a limited budget and so I have spent some of today ensuring that I am aware of any relevant high street deals before handing over my hard earned cash.

Some of my shopping has already been completed, buying on line I have ticked off my sister, part of my brother in law, part of my nephew, part of my mum and part of my mother in law’s gifts too. Buying them all on line I was able to get it all free delivery and at cheaper than high street stores.

There are downsides to Internet Shopping :o(

·        Lack of opportunity to check quality
·        Often a long wait at a sorting office to pick up items when it is convenient Last year I spent 1hr 30mins queueing in the snow at my local sorting office to pick up the Michael McIntyre book for my bro in law. I would have happily paid the extra £5 it would have cost to visit my local book seller and purchase it after 90mins standing the cold. I am afraid none of us were full of the milk of human kindness when someone tried to queue jump.

I need to ensure that what I buy tomorrow is bought for the best possible price.

With this in mind I have already written a list and spent some time investigating prices.

The Chap wants some clothes and whilst the stores he likes are not offering any vouchers, I have found that by buying gift cards through Morrisons in advance to make my purchases with, I have been able to get a considerable amount off my next tank of petrol. See here for more information.

I have also noted that The Early Learning Centre & Mothercare are offering 25% off TOYS (to 5th Dec). I have read the small print, this is in store and on line. See here.

Looks like my nephew will onto a winner with this especially as I have also changed my £5 Tesco voucher into £10 to be spent on Toys (also can be spent in other departments) please note this offer finished tomorrow Friday 30th, though it has been extended until 11th December on clothing and Tesco Direct. Tesco Exchange.

I think every time I use a voucher, “How wonderful!” my friends / family would not have been able to have this if it were not for this voucher.

A couple of other deals I think are worth noting today.

·        Marks and Spencer are currently running their £10 meal deal. But if you are an O2 user you can use their discount code and get it for £8. I picked it up lunchtime today. A main, a side, a pudding and a bottle of wine for 2.
·        The Body Shop are offering £15 off a £30 in store spend on voucher codes. Expires 2nd December.
·        Wallis are offering up to 30% (ends Saturday) off at the moment as are Dorothy Perkins.
·        BHS are also offering up to 30% off across all departments.
·        Fancy dinner out tonight or tomorrow? Frankie and Benny are still offering their November Voucher - £10 off a meal for two consisting of 2 mains. Beware you cannot use this on their special menu of two courses for £10.95. We used it at the beginning of the month and had two drinks and two mains at a price of £10.45. It is being used again this evening before it expires as a little treat.

Be canny this Christmas folks!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

26 Days Until Christmas Folks!

Everyone, just everyone is talking about reducing your Christmas bill.

It is such an expensive time of the year, anything that can be done to cut the cost is a good idea.

Perhaps you have been saving for the past 11 months ready for a splurge this yuletide. Or more likely, you are thinking “YIKES!” it is Christmas in 26 days.

So many bloggers are calling for a complete cut in spending. The truth is if you cannot afford Christmas, then do not try. Give up presents, apart from the very young and settle for a meal with the family.

However, I love Christmas and I want to buy presents and I want to open them. I don’t want socks, or a Body Shop basket. I want something that shows you have thought about what I like. (e.g. I would be thrilled with a new Kitchen Light Fitting this year!)

And, I try to ensure my presents reflect what others want / need too.

I am happy to spend my money if I have got it, but Christmas most definitely cannot go on the Credit Cards.

There are some very simple ways of cutting the Christmas cost quickly and effectively.

1.      Cull Your Christmas List. i.e. Reduce the amount of people you buy for.
Over the last few years I have reduced the amount of people I buy for every year. This year, I was talking with a very good friend and we agreed to stop the presents betweens us due to monetary constraints. This also means I can stop buying for her little ones too. Over the last few years I have managed to cull my list pretty thoroughly, and often of those people, who whilst being very good friends, are very bad gift givers.

2.      Impose a Limit:
The 2 non family children I buy for only get a £5 per child spend. This year I forgot the eldest’s birthday until the day before. Harassed, I thrust a £5 in card. The little girl was over the moon and her younger brother said he wanted cash too this year. Excellent! Finding a gift for £5 is tricky and giving the money ensures I am within budget.

3.      Be Truthful and Explain.
This year for close family:- Parents, Sister etc I explained that money was very tight and would they mind if I only spent £20 / person. All my family understood, as they know how difficult life has been for the last couple of years. So that reduced my Christmas bill again.

However, I will still be enjoying myself over the Christmas holidays. I have a Sewing Class meal out to look forward to and a Book Club Christmas meal too.

However, by organising the meals I got to choose the place. A good local restaurant which provides a 2 course meal for £10.90 and 3 courses for £12.90. I have already paid a £5 deposit on both meals and so with drinking water it will not be expensive at all. The menu has a good selection including a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and enough of a selection for our non meat eating friends.

The Chap has his annual friends Christmas do too a week on Saturday, which again a deposit has been paid for. I am planning on driving to reduce my overall cost of drinking and no taxi fares.

And finally, I would urge you to consider the cost of food at Christmas. I am always away staying either with parents or my sister. Yet whoever hosts, always always always receives money towards the food shop from everyone attending. It is not fair to expect anyone else to cover the cost of entertaining you this festive period.

And finally, A little Christmas Story

Many years ago I had my favourite Christmas present - A Miniature Silver Cross Pram in white with a maroon canvass hood very similar to this. It was so shiny and the bed linen was so beautiful.

I found out recently it was second hand and my Mum spent evenings cleaning it up and then sewing the linen prior to Chistmas….

moral - does everything have to be new for kids?

Wasn’t I really lucky??
Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Monday, 26 November 2012

Should Have Stayed In Bed Today.

I woke up today and just felt like turning over and going back to sleep. So I waved my hand in the general direction of the alarm (I have a very fancy movement activated snooze button) and went back to sleep.

I guess I may have done this more than once as the next time I looked at the clock it was 16 mins past my usual "get your fat ass out of bed time".

Oh shiiiiiiiiittttt!

I then had five minutes to wash, dress, make the bed and run out of the door.

Impossible for many but not for me as I wonder womaned it round the flat.

Straighteners on before the bathroom then they are ready to flatten down the birds-nest before hitting the door.

Whilst ironing my bob I always bung on the tv to check the news.

"Strange" thought I "that's not the usual couple who tell me the horrors going on overseas of a morning". Hmmmm

I then checked the clock on the program only 6.25 not 7.25am. Oh heck I am up an hour early!!!!!

So off I toddle to the kitchen to put the kettle on. One cup of tea later I am lying in bed smug in the knowledge that I have eons of time before o have to dance the day. Perhaps I can really shock everyone and turn up with make up on my face not in my bag!

I settle back in bed and happened to glance at the alarm clock again 7.35 AM. WHAT!!!!!

I checked the Tv and suddenly realised I was watching ITV+1.....

So it starts again.

Should have stayed in bed and just not bothered with today at all methinks. Especially as I could not for the life of me remember all day whether I had turned off the straighteners.

Sigh.

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Friday, 23 November 2012

I Am OK.

Afternoon Chickadees!

I had a car accident this morning.
All my fault.

Luckily everyone is ok and no one was hurt. So that is good.

The cars are a little bruised, just bumpers though.

In nearly 20 years of driving I have never caused an accident, so I was very shaken. I may have rung The Chap at work and cried a little.

But, the lady was so good about it and her first words were "Do you have kids in the car? Are you ok?"

After that we just made friends and exchanged details.

Best that metal is scrapped and bent and not flesh and bones methinks!

The Chap is now stating that obviously he is the better driver even though his driving career consists of 3 write offs....!

There goes the no claims bonus after two claims in a 12 month period. I only renewed my car insurance at the beginning of the month.

Thank God I paid extra for a low excess :o)

Frugally yours
Abigail
X

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I Bought A Turnip

See? Here, it is.
In my experiment to try and cook most vegetables, Part 2 is the turnip.
It turns out what I thought was a turnip, is actually a swede. Ooops. Probably a good thing I am trying to widen my vegetable repartee.

However, I am not sure what to do with it now.

According to this website, I can
Steam it
Bake it
Mash it
Sautee it
Boil it
Eat it raw

Not sure I can face eating it raw.

So I am throwing it out to you.

How do you think I should cook it?

I was thinking half done one way (your way) and the rest shoved in some chicken soup I am planning on making tonight with a left over chicken from Sunday.

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Frugal Fashion.

I have been buying.

Now, then don’t jump down my throat friends.

I needed some clothes. My work is very customer facing and after spending nothing on work clothes for about 2 –3 years. My office wardrobe had become very spartan. Plus my go to weekend jacket at 6 years old now looks very tatty. My Mum even said so (and we all know Mums know best). The pockets have been repaired so many times that now I cannot even patch them up as there is no solid material left.

Gone are the days of blowing £100-200 every 3 months on a new suit. Quite frankly, I have decided to stop wearing a suit to work. They are just too expensive, and everyone seems to be a little more casual now in the office.

I have one good suit left, but I only wear it now when I have an important client meeting.

So how to dress frugally ?

I turned to eBay. I have only bought clothes from eBay once before and it was not a wild success. I think the term “abject failure” would be more accurate, but as the suit only cost £4.50, I just donated it to a local charity shop and chalked it up to experience.

This time I went in and searched on specific makes in my size 0, ok I am lying size 12. :o)

I started off getting this.


A Joules jacket second hand. It cost £21. Joules clothes are beautiful. I bought a jumper and tshirt of theirs about 5 years ago and they just wash and wear wonderfully. A jacket like this is going to cost between £89-100. So I think it was a bargain and the colour is so beautiful. It really is in immaculate condition, and the lining looks (and smells perfect) 

Then I picked up this.

It is a Boden Wrap dress that would retail at about £69. It came in all the original packaging but the  label cut out. This particular seller seems to have a lot of end of lines of Boden. Again Boden is a name in the UK synonymous with quality and I could not normally afford their items, even in the sale. I paid £14.99.

I also picked up this M&S dress.

Again it was second hand, but a good sniff and intense review of the fabric, showed no sign of wear and tear. It really is brand spanking new. I reckon a dress like this would cost upwards of £70 off the peg. This cost me £8.50, and it fits like a glove. I really felt so smart and sexy in it and nearly everyone at the company commented on how nice I looked and a about 50% asked where I had got it.

And, finally...


This was the cheapest, and I am wearing it right now. It is a NEXT dress that I think would cost £29 - 35 to buy. Again, it was second hand and I can find no sign of wear and tear. The price? £5.51. Again my college “G” was waxing lyrical about it with a little vest top underneath and a plain black jacket, I really do feel very smart.

So total spend was £50 exactly on three dresses and 1 jacket, all excellent quality that I would never be able to afford at normal retail prices.

Excellent!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x

                       

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lichfield. A Walking Tour.

I went for a walk yesterday. Walking is not my thing. I am more the driving and parking kind of girl.

But, as my beloved Polo had to go back to the garage I was left with Shank's Pony to get around.

My garage was in Lichfield, Staffordshire. I have never had a wander there apart from specific shopping.

So I went for a walk.

Frugal and fun!

First I went to the Cathedral. So beautiful the only 3 spired Cathedral in the UK. A service had recently finished and I meant to walk around. But, I felt the urge to just sit and be. I said some prayers for family and friends and then just said thank you for everything. I also asked for peace in The middle east.

I must have been there a while as when I opened my eyes a man from the staff was there and asked if I was ok. Did I need to speak to someone? Well, that's never happened when I have said my prayers before, and it got me so flustered I just hurriedly said no thanks and fled!

So no photos from inside I am afraid.

As you walk around this beautiful old city you cannot help but be impressed with the age of some of the buildings and the beautiful that can be found in old architecture.

Lichfield is a city that is steeped in history, and it shows in every corner you turn.

I found the memorial garden to the fallen heroes of both the world wars. So many names and so many wreaths laid after Remembrance Sunday.

I also walked past Erasmus Darwins house which was open to the public. I would have gone in but I had not got the time. Again it was set amongst beautiful buildings and greenery. I think I must go back for a wander shortly.

A park is just across the road in a beautiful fountain, decorated with painted birds.

But my favourite was a bronze statue of Captain Edward John Smith. Captain of the Titanic.

He is actually from Hanley, Stoke on Trent , but the story goes Stoke declined the statue after the tragic loss of over 1500 lives. So Lichfield had it instead and it now stands prominently in this garden area. Inscribed with the words "Be British" apparently his last words. So very very sad.

I made my way back through the town, to pick up my car (nothing wrong with it apparently... Phew!) and there is an array of independent sellers with shops, but like most town centres it does have too many closed shops. Thought rumour has it a Debenhams will be opening there in the new year about March time.

Lichfield is well worth a visit of you have some free time and the people are so friendly. Plus the history of this city and the buildings make it beautiful.

Sorry for the photos at the end Peeps. But when you blog from a phone that is the only option.

Frugally Yours
Abigail
X






































Thursday, 15 November 2012

I Don’t Know How To Make Cauliflower Cheese.

I really don’t, never cooked it and never buy cauliflower as it is just too big a vegetable when you are only cooking for one.

However, my parents went on holiday early this week, and Mum very kindly emptied her perishables into a bag for me.

I picked up a huge cauliflower.

Not every having made cauliflower cheese before I checked a few online recipes.  I did seem to remember my Mummy used to make it as a main course when I was knee high to a grasshopper.

It is lovely to have the luxury of following a recipe. However, with supplies limited I decided to make it up as I went along.

You can all send me your thoughts on what I did wrong.

First I cut the cauliflower into hefty florets and gave them a wash. I then put them into a pan of boiling salted water and left them to cook whilst plumbing cupboards and the fridge for additional ingredients to bulk it up.

So I fried the one red onion I had left with two chopped sticks of rather bendy looking celery and a teaspoon of garlic granules.

I left that to cool and hard boiled 4 eggs (another freebie from Mum's fridge) whilst making a cheese sauce.

Once everything was ready I assembled the cauliflower in a pie dish arranging the quartered eggs in between with the onion and celery over the top. It still looked a little bare, so a tin of tuna and a tin of sweetcorn got dumped in too.

I then covered the lot with the cheese sauce, some bread crumbs over the top and then more cheese.

I then baked the lot for 20 mins at 200. It was sooooo yummy. And by my reckoning should last 4 meals.

This is my favourite type of cooking, the “Ah Hell, Give It A Go Abigail” school of cuisine.

Plus apart from the milk I picked up yesterday, I still have not been back to the supermarket this month.
Brilliant!

Frugally yours
Abigail
x